Friday, July 6, 2012

Wave Goodbye

I have friends across the gamut of the political spectrum, so I get all kinds of propaganda on Facebook.  I have the strictly Christian relatives, whose political views aren't part of the frequent postings but whose postings are generally promoting a non-specific Christianity ('cause we all know there are a plethora of sects on that).  I have HS friends who subscribe to religious right opinions.  I have Libertarian leaning friends, who fortunately use their brains a lot more than the strictly Know Nothing sorts.  Surprisingly, the least frequent postings I see are from left leaning friends.  Not the usual chatter postings.  They have plenty of them.  They just don't put up a lot of political stuff.  Except my brother.  He does plenty.

So, that brings me to the point.  On the side of those opposing the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare), there's much gnashing of teeth that the government is forcing people to buy a product.  There's a certain amount of irony in that because the Democrats, on the whole, would have preferred a government run system of single payer insurance for all, but couldn't get that through with all the cries of socialism from the GOP.  Instead, the ACA is a GOP plan.  As we all know, it's the current GOP standard bearer's plan, which he now disowns.  Ah, hypocrisy, thy name is Romney.

The problem with the objection that the government (federal, in this case) is forcing citizens to buy a product is that the ship for objecting to that sailed long ago.  At the state level most states force citizens (and non-citizens, too) to buy auto insurance.  They also charge you a bunch of fees, taxes by another name, to register a car, get license, and all sorts of other things related to cars. 

Now, many argue that a person doesn't have to buy a car, which is true, albeit disingenuous in our car based transportation world.  Ok.  But the governments at the local, state and federal levels require taxpayers to buy all sorts of things, albeit indirectly.  We're buying highways and equipment.  We're buying food for those who can't afford it.  We're buying anything that the government buys.  It's our money, at some point.

Of course, legally speaking, the ACA isn't requiring anyone to buy anything.  You have a choice between buying health coverage (or obtaining it through your employer or the government) or paying a tax (fee) if you choose not to buy the coverage.  Guess what?  This has been going on for a very long time.  Ever heard of the mortgage tax credit?  You can buy a house and get the credit, if you have a mortgage, or you can not buy a house and pay more in taxes.  Same thing with the marriage tax credit and deductions for dependents.  You can choose to get married and have kids, getting deductions on your taxes, or you can choose not to and pay more in taxes.  It's the same thing.

Sure, it doesn't fly off the lips as readily as socialism or totalitarian alien, but then, reasoned thinking isn't a sound bite.

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